Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate the histopathological lesions in the upper gastrointestinal mucosa associated with Helicobacter pylori infection in children with nonulcer dyspepsia.
Methods: A cross-sectional case-control study was performed on 185 Brazilian children and adolescents (4–17 years, mean 9.5 ± 2.7 years), 63.2% girls, submitted to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The histopathological lesions of the esophageal and gastric mucosa were analyzed in biopsy samples.
Results: H pylori infection was identified in 96 children (51.8%). Moderate to severe chronic active gastritis was present in antrum (70.5%) and corpus (45.2%), with higher grading in antrum than in corpus (P < 0.05). The topographic distribution of inflammation was pangastritis (61.9%), followed by antral (32.1%) and corpus (5.9%). H pylori density was higher in antrum than in corpus. Intestinal metaplasia was not found in the H pylori–infected group, nor was significant gastric atrophy. The scores for esophagitis were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the noninfected group (1.4 ± 0.8) than in the H pylori–infected group (1.07 ± 0.9), with significant negative correlation (r = 0.29; P < 0.05) with the scores of gastric inflammation.
Conclusions: The prevalence of H pylori infection was high among children with dyspepsia and associated with moderate/severe degrees of gastric inflammation. The high scores of esophagitis in the noninfected group point to 2 distinct groups of pathological conditions sharing similar clinical patterns.